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LYRASIS Members and Sloan Foundation
Timpanogos Cave National Monument
Statement for Management
United States Department of the Interior - National Park Service
The statement for management (SFM) provides an
up-to-date inventory of the park's condition and an
analysis of its problems. It does not involve any
prescriptive decisions on future management and use of
the park, but it provides a format for evaluating
conditions and identifying major issues and information
/s/ William E. Wellmen July 1, 1986
Superintendent, Timpanogos Cave National Monument Date
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United States Department
of the Interior
955 80.000 C
Timpanogos Cave National Monument
U.S. Dept. of the Interior - National Park Service
153 I 60,\\2,
5-8* I K.n>U>
feet 200 400 600
United States Department of the Interior
National Park Service
UINTA NATIONAL FOREST
Note : T4S. R2E
Salt Lake Meridian, Utah Survey
153 | 80.017
Timpanogos Cave National Monument is located in Utah County,
Utah, which is in the 3rd Congressional District. The 250
acre monument is located in rugged, scenic American Fork
Canyon. Access to the monument is via Utah Highway 92, the
Alpine Scenic Loop.
II. P URPOSE AND SIGNIFICANCE
President Warren G. Harding by Proclamation No. 1540, dated
October 14, 1922, under the authority of the Act of June 8,
1906, (34 Stat. 225), established Timpanogos Cave National
Monument. The series of three limestone caves was placed
under the jurisdiction of the National Forest Service to be
protected for its "unusual scientific interest and
importance." Executive Order No. 6166, dated June 10, 1933,
placed all national monuments under the jurisdiction of the
Department of the Interior, and transfer of Timpanogos Cave
to the National Park Service occurred on July 1, 1934.
Under provision of the National Park Service Organic Act of
1916, the area is to be managed in a manner which will
conserve the natural resources and provide for public use
and enjoyment. (See Appendix A.)
III. I NFLUENCES: INVENTORY AND ANALYSIS
A. LEGISLATIVE AND ADMINISTRATIVE REQUIREMENTS
There have been no significant boundary changes since
establishment of the monument in 1922. However, a
subsequent survey (1945) determined that the boundary as
marked on the ground did not coincide with the diagram which
formed part of the 1922 proclamation. Therefore, the
description of the boundary was changed to conform with the
physical boundary by Presidential Proclamation 3458, dated
March 27, 1962.
A List of Classified Structures Inventory was carried out in
November 1975. A National Register nomination was submitted
in February 1982 for the Timpanogos Cave Historical District
which was placed on the National Register October 13, 1982.
The contributing structures of the Historic District are:
Superintendent's Residence, bridge, Comfort Station Building
Number 126, Comfort Station Building Number 127, two cold
cellars, the stone storage building, and the old Timpanogos
A permit was issued January 1, 1978, to Mountain States
Telephone Company for the right-of-way for telephone
transmission lines, expiring December 31, 1997. The lines
have a visual impact on the area.
An electric service agreement dated February 18, 1955,
exists with Utah Power and Light Company. It assumed
maintenance responsibility for a government-built line and
agreed to furnish electrical service to the monument. On
April 1, 1966, a contract was issued for reconstruction of
the system by Utah Power and Light Company. There is
considerable visual impact which could be minimized by some
realignment which the company has agreed to do as
replacement of poles becomes necessary.
A limited concession permit was issued to Mr. and Mrs. Carl
Wagner for a food and souvenir concession on January 1,
1986, and will expire December 31, 1990. The concession
operates approximately 6 months a year providing needed
refreshments to visitors after the strenuous trail hike. It
is housed in a portion of the visitor center constructed for
that purpose and has minimal impact on the area. Souvenir
sales consist primarily of sweat shirts for visitor comfort
in the 43-degree cave. Other souvenirs assist in making the
concession operations financially feasible.
Executive Orders 11990 and 11988 control development on
Wetland Habitats and 100-year flood plains.
1 . Natural Resources
The primary resource of the area is Timpanogos Cave located
in the south wall of American Fork Canyon, 1,065 feet above
the visitor center. Timpanogos Cave and nearby Hansen and
Middle Caves are connected by manmade tunnels so that
visitors enter the caves at Hansen Cave, travel through
Middle Cave, and exit through Timpanogos Cave. The caves
are small with no huge rooms or large passageways.
Following the tour route the total distance through the
caves is 1,800 feet.
Stalactites, stalagmites, and other common features are
found in the caves , but it is the tremendous number of
helectites which make these caves unique. Helectites are
small cave formations which twist and turn into strange and
fantastic shapes as they grow from the cave walls or roof.
Due to changes in elevation and exposure, a wide variety of
plants are found within the monument. These plants may
generally be grouped into three categories by the location
in which they are found. South and west facing slopes,
which are a warm and relatively dry environment, are
dominated by gambel oak.
The canyon floor provides a moist environment suitable for
such large trees as cottonwood, box eider, and white fir.
The cool, moist, shaded environment of the north facing
slopes support white fir, Douglas fir, red osier dogwood,
and mountain maple.
Despite its small size a variety of animals are found within
the monument. A few bats may be found in the caves, but
they are not common. Cougar also live in the area; however,
they are seldom seen.
There are no known endangered plants or animals in the
monument. However a threatened and endangered species
survey has not been undertaken within the monument.
2 . Cultural Resources
There are few cultural resources outside of the Timpanogos
Cave Historic District (see part III A). An archeological
survey has been carried out in accordance with Executive
Order 11593. The one site found, a Freemont style
anthropomophic figure, does not meet the criteria for
nomination to the National Register of Historic Places. The
site is protected and inaccessible to the public due to its
location. The survey report was completed in November 1975.
C. LAND USES AND TRENDS
Timpanogos Cave is surrounded by the Uinta National Forest.
North of Utah Highway 92 (which bisects the park) , the park
is enclosed by the 30,088-acre Lone Peak Wilderness Area.
South of Highway 92, the Pleasant Grove Management Area
surrounds the park. This area, which includes Provo and
American Fork Canyons, is heavily used by local residents
for various types of recreation, such as sightseeing,
camping, picnicking, hunting, and gathering forest products.
Over the past few decades the Wasatch front from Ogden to
Provo has become increasingly urbanized. The population of
Utah County, in which Timpanogos Cave is located, increased
58.3 percent in the decade of 1970-80. While the area just
outside the mouth of American Fork Canyon was largely small
grain and livestock farms or fruit orchards 15 years ago,
today it is predominately subdivided housing tracts. While
the trend toward urbanization is expected to continue
through at least the next decade, it should be much less
intense than in the late 1970 's. Because the monument is
buffered by the surrounding national forest and because
visitation is already approaching the carrying capacity of
the caves, the effect of the increased urbanization will be
minimized. Foreseeable problems include possible damage to
the resources from increased air pollution originating in
the expanding urban areas and the need for increased law
enforcement to protect both the park resources and park
There are no private holdings within the boundary of the
D. VISITOR USE ANALYSIS
The 1985 visitor season began with the opening of cave tours
on May 18 and ended on November 2. During this time, 5,010
cave tours were presented for 83,353 visitors. This is the
highest number of cave visitors in the history of the
monument. An additional 3,376 visitors were turned away;
the majority of these were turned away because visitor
demand for tours exceeds the carrying capacity of the caves
on Saturdays and holidays.
Approximately 75 percent of the park visitation occurs
during June, July, and August. Visitation is comparatively
light during the first half of June because Highway 92 is
still closed just past the monument and because of the cool
weather. From mid- June until schools are open in late
August, visitation is consistently heavy. During this
period of heavy visitation, visitors who arrive before 10
a.m. may start up the trail for their cave tour immediately.
Visitors arriving after 10 a.m. must wait at the visitor
center before starting up the trail.
On a week day, the wait will often be 1 hour by midafternoon
because visitors are arriving faster than the tours can be
given. There are 20 people to a tour, and tours are no
closer than 10 minutes apart (maximum) , which is
approximately 120 visitors per hour.
This daily visitation pattern is consistent for all
weekdays. The visitation pattern is similar on Sundays
except visitation is extremely light during the morning.
Saturday by far receives the heaviest visitation. Quite
often there will be a line of visitors waiting at the door
of the visitor center by 8 a.m. All tours for the day are
usually filled by early afternoon and may fill as early as
11 a.m. On weekends approximately 90 percent of the
visitors are from Utah. On weekdays 70 percent of the
visitors are from Utah and 30 percent from out of State.
The Visitation Trends Graph illustrates a major decline in
park visitation after 1977. This is an inaccurate picture
since park visitation has always been calculated as a
percentage of the cave tours. The percentage used to
calculate total visitors was reduced in 1978. Note that the
cave tours on the graph illustrate a more consistent trend.
Cave tours are derived from actual count.
Peak Day - 1985
Date Number of Tours Cave Visitors Total Visitors
7/4 64 1,275 1,912
7/6 64 1,265 1,897
7/13 64 1,275 1,912
7/20 67 1,317 1,975
7/24 60 1,220 1,830
7/27 62 1,206 1,809
Average daily visitation for July was 1,219; 813 cave
visitors (Note: The cave was closed for 2-1/2 days due to
a power line failure.)
Noncave visitors view the audiovisual program, visit the
museum, and picnic.
E. FACILITY AND EQUIPMENT ANALYSIS
1. Nonhistoric Roads and Trails - 600 feet of roadway,
four parking lots (129 spaces) , IT&7 miles of paved trails.
The main road through the monument is Utah Highway 92 and is
maintained by the State. The only roads maintained by the
park are the 500-foot road leading to the utility area and
residence 2, and the 100-foot road leading to residences 8
and 9. There is a 56-space parking lot at the visitor
center, a 35-space parking lot across Highway 92 from the
visitor center, a 13-space lot at the nature trail, and a
25-space lot at the picnic area.
The 1-1/2 mile trail from the visitor center to the cave is
one of the major facilities in the park. This trail climbs
1,065 feet along the steep south wall of American Fort
Canyon. Due to the large number of visitors using this
trail, it was paved in 1957. Because of the extreme weather
total annual park visitation
total annual visitation through the cave
1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985
Timpanogos Cave National Monument
conditions in the canyon and constant rockfall damage, the
trail requires continuous maintenance. One third of the
trail is resurfaced each year. The trail is in generally
The trail through the cave is also paved and stairs and
handrails are provided in more difficult passages. This
trail is in good condition, but the handrails are old and
need to be replaced.
In addition to the cave trail, a 1/4-mile nature trail
follows the American Fork River from the visitor center to
the picnic area. Due to the considerably milder weather
conditions on the canyon floor, this trail requires much
less maintenance. The bridge at the east end of this trail
was lost during the spring runoff in 1983. The trail is
still accessible from the picnic area. A new bridge has
been installed across Highway 92 from the visitor center, a
location described in the 1983 general management plan.
Construction of the new section of trail is underway as a
There are two roadway bridges and three footbridges across
the American Fork River within the monument. All of these
structures are maintained by the park and are in good
The cave trail rockfall barrier, installed in 1977, is
located in the exposed drainage above the cave rest room.
This drainage is crossed seven times by the cave trail and
is the most hazardous portion of the trail. The rockfall
barrier is designed to stop rocks at the head of the
drainage, thereby preventing them from falling onto the
Retaining walls have been installed at various times along
the American Fork River. A great deal of dry-laid stone
retaining wall was built during the 1930 's and 1940' s;
however, only a small portion of this wall remains intact.
Following the flood in 1965, approximately 300 feet of
rock-faced concrete stem retaining wall was constructed to
protect the picnic area rest room, maintenance shop, and
residence 2. Again following high water damage in 1983, an
additional 500 feet of retaining wall was added to protect
residence 8, the main waterline, the picnic area, and access
2. Nonhistoric Buildings and Facilities
The visitor center (constructed in 1967, 6,700 square feet)
contains four administrative offices and visitor facilities
including exhibit area, information and ticket sales
counter, Southwest Parks and Monuments Association sales
display, 100-seat auditorium with a 12 minute slide/ tape
program, and public rest rooms. A concession area is
separated from the main visitor center by a roofed patio.
The concession area contains a snack bar and souvenir shop.
This facility is in good operating condition.
The maintenance shop (constructed in 1965, 2,194 square
feet) contains four 18 foot by 24 foot bays used for
equipment and vehicle storage, supplies storage, workspace,
and office space for the maintenance foreman. A 10 foot by
18 foot storage shed was added to the east end of the
building in 1971. The structure is in good condition.
Residences 8 and 9 (constructed in 1965, 1,400 square feet
each) are typical Mission 66 houses with attached garages.
Both houses are in good condition. Free standing wood
stoves have been installed in each residence.
The Swinging Bridge Picnic Area contains 16 sites and 24
tables. The area is located along the American Fork River
1/4 of a mile down the canyon from the visitor center.
Tables, fire grills, trash receptacles, and water faucets
are provided. Despite heavy use this facility is in
generally good condition.
An unheated comfort station (constructed in 1965, 375 square
feet) is located in the picnic area. This facility contains
men's and women's rest rooms and a utility room. Effluent
from this rest room is pumped to the main leach field for
disposal. The structure is in good condition.
3. Utility Systems
Three phase electric service is provided to the park by the
Utah Power and Light Company. Considering the rather
difficult access to the park facilities, service to the area
Telephone service is provided by Mountain Bell. Four lines
are utilized by the park.
Communications with the cave is by park radio. The system
consists of a base station at the visitor center, two mobile
units, and numerous handsets used by the maintenance crew,
cave guides, and patrol rangers.
Garbage is collected by the park maintenance staff and
carried to the Orem City Landfill in the park truck.
Usually two trips per week are needed in the summer and one
or two trips per week during the rest of the year.
The entire water system in the canyon floor is gravity
operated. The water source is two boxed springs located 510
feet higher than the visitor center elevation on National
Forest Service land in Swinging Bridge Canyon. From the
springs , water flows through a 4 inch iron pipe to the
hyprochlorinator building--a distance of approximately 1,300
feet with an elevation loss of 334 feet. At this point the
water for the park is treated with chlorine gas and the
volume of the water metered. Water excess to the park's
needs continues down the 4 inch line and feeds into the Utah
Power and Light Company's 24 inch line. After treatment and
metering, the water is fed through a 2 inch line into a
100,000 gallon above ground steel tank. From this tank,
water flows to the facilities in the canyon floor through 4
inch mains and 2 inch lateral pipes. A 20,000 gallon
underground concrete tank is located along the line to the
utility area. This tank is used for additional storage and
allows manual operation of the system when the steel tank
and chlorinator are out of service. The water system is in
The sewer system in the canyon floor is composed of septic
tanks and drain fields. An 11,000 gallon septic tank serves
the visitor center and residences 8 and 9. The Swinging
Bridge picnic area rest room has a separate septic tank.
The drain field for both tanks is located across the highway
from the picnic area. Since the drain field is located
slightly higher than the picnic area rest room, effluent is
held in an underground vault at the rest room. When the
vault is full, the effluent is automatically pumped up to
the drain field. A secondary pump automatically takes over
should the primary pump fail. The maintenance shop and
residence 2 have a separate tank and drain field. Both
systems are in fair condition and operating smoothly.
The water source at the cave is a pool approximately 300
feet into Hansen Cave, this part of the cave is closed to
the public. The water is pumped from the pool into two
2,500 gallon redwood tanks. From the tanks the water flows
by gravity to a 125 gallon steel tank where it is batch
chlorinated. The water continues by gravity to the drinking
fountain in the Grotto. This system works quite well
although it requires a substantial amount of manual
Power for the cave lighting system is supplied through an
overhead powerline originating near the maintenance area and
entering the cave through the natural entrance to Middle
Cave. Within the caves the system contains 135 lights
controlled by magnetic and manual switches and mercury
relays. The system is in generally good condition.
4 . Historic Structures
The Timpanogos Cave Historic District was placed on the
National Register on October 13, 1982. The Historic
District contains the following structures.
Residence 2 is a stone two-bedroom house without a garage
constructed in 1945. This structure is extremely
The interior was remodeled in 1983-84; however, the stone
exterior for which the building was nominated was not
modified. The structure is in good condition.
The old bathhouse (336 square feet) was originally used as
the bathhouse for the cave campground. This 1928 structure
is presently used only for storage and is in fair condition.
The cave rest room (153 square feet) was constructed in 1939
beside the cave trail near the entrance to Hansen Cave. The
building contains men's and women's rest rooms and a small
storage room. The toilets are vault type. There is no
water or heat in the building. Sewage is retained in a
2,000 gallon concrete vault below the rest room. A small
exhaust fan causes air to flow in through the toilets and
out a small stack which keeps odors within reasonable
limits. Each fall the holding vault is drained into a
sludge pit located 160 feet down the mountain side. This
cave rest room structure is in good condition.
5 . Equipment
Trail Truck - This small diesel powered vehicle was custom
built by the Young Machine Company of Monticello, Utah, for
use on the cave trail. It is the only machine in the park
capable of transporting sizable loads to the cave entrance
or exit. The truck has a 1-yard hydraulically operated box
and a snow plow attachment for clearing roads and parking
lots during the winter. Cost: $25,500
Loader - A small Bobcat loader with backhoe and roadbroom
attachments is used for general maintenance and trail
maintenance on the lower half of the cave trail. Cost:
Vehicles - Two General Service Administration rental
vehicles are used in the park: a midsize sedan, which
serves as the park law enforcement vehicle and general
transportation, and a 3/4-ton truck with box and hoist used
for general maintenance and hauling trash to the landfill.
Miscellaneous Equipment (partial list)
Cash register (2)
Chain saw (2)
Air compressor (electric)
Welders (electric and
STATUS OF PLANNING
Name of Plan/ Study
Preparer Approved on Adequacy Repository
General Management Plan/ Park/RMR 9/27/83 Adequate Park/Region
Development Concept Plan/
G. EXISTING MANAGEMENT ZONING
Most of Timpanogos Cave National Monument is in a natural
management zone. The cave itself is classified as an
outstanding natural feature subzone. The natural zone
comprises 94 percent of the park.
which is on
The old cave
land is divided into a historic zone (1-1/2
a development zone (4-1/2 percent) . The
contains the Timpanogos Cave
the National Register of
trail, cave trail rest room,
structures dating from the 1930' s and 1940
zone. The majority of the structures are
just inside the west boundary of the monument.
and several stone
1 s are within the
along Highway 92
cave access trail
natural zone-94% /250 acres
outstanding natural feature
development zone-4.5%/11.25 acres
historic zone-1.5%/3.75 acres
structure included in historic zone
total- 265 acres
contour interval 100'
Existing Management Zoning Map
Timpanogos Cave National Monument
United States Department of the Interior - National Park Service
153 I 80,018
Mar. '84 I RMRO
IV. -V. MAJOR ISSUES AND MANAGEMENT OBJECTIVES
A. GENERAL OBJECT IVE
Provide protection for the natural and cultural resources of
the monument .
Airborne pollutants from nearby industrial areas may be
causing damage to the cave resources.
Specific Objectives ;
a. Determine the types of pollutants present in the caves.
b. Determine the effects of the pollutants on the cave
c. Develop appropriate methods of mitigation of any
2. Increasingly heavy visitor use is causing loss of
native vegetation and accelerated erosion along the cave
trail, in the picnic area, and along the river bank near the
Specific Objective :
Determine methods of mitigating this damage.
B. GENERAL OBJECTIVE
Provide the opportunity for safe and meaningful visitor
experiences in the monument.
Provide interpretive media and programs which will increase
the opportunities for meaningful visitor experiences.
Specific Objective :
Develop effective museum exhibits, audiovisual programs,
wayside exhibits, cave tours, and other interpretive program
(for further information see the Interpretive Prospectus,
1983 General Management Plan, p. 15-21).
C. GENERAL OBJECTIVE
Reduce vandalism to monument signs and facilities.
Vandalism to monument signs and facilities reduces the
quality of the visitor experience and wastes park resources.
Specific Objective :
Develop methods of reducing vandalism.
XI. APPENDIX A
73. Timpanogos Cave National Monument
Establishment: Proclamation (No. 1640) of October 14, 1922
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OK AMERICA
[No. 1640— Oct. 14, 1922 — \2 Stat. 2285]
Whereas, a natural cave, known as the Timpanogos Cave, which is
situated upon unsurveyed lands within the Wasatch National Forest in the
State of Utah, is of unusual scientific interest and importance, and it appears
that the public interests will be promoted by reserving this cave with as
much land as may be necessary for the proper protection thereof, as a
Now, therefore, I, Warren G. Harding, President of the United
States of America, by virtue of the power in me vested by section two of
the Act of Congress approved June eight, nineteen hundred and six, entitled,
"An Act for the preservation of American antiquities," do proclaim that there
is hereby reserved from all forms of appropriation under the public land
laws, subject to all prior valid adverse claims, and set apart as a National
Monument, the tract of land in the State of Utah shown as the Timpanogos
Cave National Monument on the diagram forming a part hereof.
The reservation made by this proclamation is not intended to prevent the
use of the lands for National Forest purposes under the proclamation estab-
lishing the Wasatch National Forest, and the two reservations shall both be
effective on the land withdrawn but the National Monument hereby
established shall be the dominant reservation and any use of the land which
interferes with its preservation or protection as a National Monument is
Warning is hereby given to all unauthorized persons not to appropriate,
injure, deface, remove, or destroy any feature of this National Monument,
or to locate or settle on any of the lands reserved by this proclamation.
In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal
of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington this fourteenth day of October, in the
year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and twenty-two,
[seal] and of the Independence of the United States of America the
one hundred and forty-seventh.
Warren G. Harding.
By the President :
Charles E. Hughes,
Secretary of State.
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